Eugenics as a Creed and the Last Decade of Gallon's Life 411
a distinction between instinct and traditional conduct. We have not at present any liberty to assume that animals are not conscious of and do not think about their so-called " instinctive " actions. The last paragraph of Galton's letter was merely a reminder that material and non-material are at present undefined terms, and that such terms as " corporeal " and " extra-corporeal " as used by Lankester are very vague. Further the statement-in our present ignorance-that it is barely possible to imagine a mechanism by which the reproductive germ-cells could carry from one generation to another the extremely complicated and precise structural conditions which are the material correlatives of what we call " a definite belief " or of what we call " specific knowledge," can be met by asking how it is possible to imagine a similar mechanism by which the chaffinches born last year are guided to build this year a nest of the most perfect workmanship
"...that seems to be
A portion of the sheltering tree."
Assimilated to its environment, is such a nest the product of hereditary knowledge* or hereditary instinct, and whichever it may be, is the material mechanism which can produce this any easier to imagine than one which might carry a " definite belief," the belief,. for example, that the development of the herd instinct, which we call patriotism, is essential to national welfare?
(17) Francis Galton's Utopia. I have described, if briefly, the controversies of the last year of Galton's life ; they undoubtedly hindered his other work'. But his active mind was still busy with the idea of spreading, even more widely_ than his Eugenics Education Society could achieve, his creed for the regeneration of mankind. Thinking over the problem of books that have had lasting influence on mankind his thoughts turned to those ideal polities, Plato's Republic, More's Utopia, Harrington's Oceana, and Butler's Erewhon. Why should he not exercise a similar influence on generations to come by writing his own Utopia, a story of a land where the nation was eugenically organised I ? A modern Gulliver should start his travels again and seek a bride in Eugenia. Only a fragment of this Utopia, which was termed " Kantsaywhere," has reached me, it deals with " The Eugenic College of Kantsaywhere." The book purports to be " Extracts from the Journal of the late Professor I. Donoghue§, revised and edited in accordance with his request by Sir Francis Galton, F.R.S." On my last visit to Galton on Dec. 28-29, 1910, I was told with an air of some mystery by his niece that he was writing a "novel," that he probably would not mention it to me, but that if he did, I must persuade him not to publish it, because the
* The young birds certainly never watched their parents building the nest. Nor has anyone
to my knowledge ever seen, or at least reported that he has seen, a young chaffinch or a young
swallow studying the architecture of the parental home with a view to his or her own future needs ! f Besides the two Eugenics papers (see pp. 401-404 above), he only published the paper in
Nature on "Numeralised Profiles," see our Vol. ii, pp. 326-328.
1 " Let us then give reins to our fancy and imagine a Utopia-or a Laputa if you will."
Galton in 1864: see Vol. it, p. 78. The idea was not originated in 1910. § " I don't know you " !